“I sometimes rack my brain for past experiences that I’m positive are in there somewhere and draw a blank. It’s frustrating, but the blank still marks a spot – a spot where a memory used to be and might, if I eat the right cake, reappear. What makes memory magical is its imperfections and its unpredictability; try as we might, we never quite control it.” Remembrance of Things Lost by Walter Kirn.
Dale and I ventured south of Atlanta a week or so ago to pick strawberries. The patch we went to was small, but the strawberries were abundant and bright and sweet. The day was perfect – breezy and sunny but not too hot. Something about setting a fulfilling purpose to my day, no matter how simple, makes me extraordinarily happy. This day in particular – the sun and wind on my skin, fingers and lips stained red, cheeks sun-kissed and warm, a few beads of sweat forming on my forehead and nose, squinting to see my person off in the distance with bucket-o-berries in tow hunching down to retrieve our prize.
It was one of those moments where every element seems to work in perfect harmony to create the most idyllic memory. Where I just want to absorb and feel it all, everything as much as possible, and sometimes it’s as though I can’t even grab a hold of it all. I want to preserve it exactly as it is. But I suppose the fleeting nature of these kinds of moments is part of it too. No matter how much you try to hold on, they are almost immediately a memory, in all its imperfect glory.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×10 baking dish and set aside. Place fruit in a large bowl and toss with sugar, tapioca starch, and lemon juice until evenly coated. Let macerate while you prepare the crumble topping.
In a medium bowl, whisk together first six crumble ingredients (oats through salt). Add the maple syrup or honey, oil, and vanilla and, using your hands, mix into the dry ingredients until everything is moistened.
Pour the fruit into the prepared dish and evenly distribute the crumble over top. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the crumble is golden brown. Let cool a bit then serve warm as is or with a sprig of mint and/or dollop of coconut cream or yogurt.